dedicated to my old flame K. V.
Updated: 2018 – 01 – 01
Wafubeh! Painters, Musicians, Writers and Artists alike, I welcome you! Prepare yourself for a ride of epic proportions through art history draped in governmental conspiracy!
Many are unaware of the CIA’s involvement in their own thinking especially when it comes to art. We will look at how the CIA manipulated art abroad, how the Nazi’s won the war and infiltrated America.
PART ONE : Nazi Art & Creation of The CIA
There are a lot of great articles floating around the internet covering the CIA’s involvement in the modern art movement. Some of the best can be found at the end of the article in the Sources section.
Much has already been said regarding this topic and I don’t want to rehash too many basic points, but there are some major points that remain untouched that I would like to go over. I believe these points will add some depth to our knowledge of this proven true “conspiracy” and perhaps reshape our thinking when it comes to the art and music community.
Nazism and Art:
How the War on Nazism extended to a Full-out War on Traditionalism
The Great Art War did not begin against the American allies “The Soviet Union” as many news sources claim but rather against the much greater threat of Nazism. Even though art warfare has been going on for centuries, this is where the whole thing appears to have originated in the most recent century.
The ideal art style of Nazi Germany was to be modeled after classical Greek and Roman art. The Nazis believed in traditional forms of art and techniques such as the painting “Water Lilies” by Ludwig Dettmann seen below. Hitler’s own personal art tastes played a tremendous influence on the future of German Art and by extension the world throughout the world. Hitler was a lover of architecture, water colors and drew primarily from Greco-Roman classicism, the Italian Renaissance and Neo-Classicism. Hitler enjoyed the technical ability of these artists, as well as the understandable symbolism in the paintings. One only needs to look at the work of Rudolf von Alt to realize who a young Hitler aspired to paint like, though it is said Hitlers favorite painter was said to be Adolf Ziegler.
Some historians have even suggested that Hitler’s strong affection for the nation of Italy and their WWII alliance was based purely on the fact that it had birthed many of Hitler’s favorite painters. Hitler had multiple failed attempts at attending the Academy of Fine Arts in Vienna before his involvement in military life. It is believed that the future leader of Germany was denied enrollment due to his lack of ability to capture the human form. Some scholars even credit this failure due to watching his mother die of breast cancer in his youth. Regardless, Adolf Hitler would consider himself an artist above all and an artist all of his life. Hitler would even telling British ambassador Nevile Henderson the following;
“I am an artist and not a politician. Once the Polish question is settled, I want to end my life as an artist.”
– Adolf Hitler
Art as a Political Tool in the 21st Century
Hitler’s love of art cannot be overstated. Only an artist would see the importance art plays in a society and use that potential in the political arena. Examples of the Nazi’s proactive influence on the art scene are nearly endless. The spearhead of the Nazi’s political art scheme came in the form of an art exhibition in 1937, Munich, Germany. Adolf Ziegler organized The Degenerate Art Exhibition (Die Ausstellung “Entartete Kunst”). It ran from July 19th to the 30th of November that year. The event had aims to abolish any use of Modernism, Expressionism, Dada, New Objectivity, Futurism and Cubism in the country. The exhibition presented 650 works of art, confiscated from German museums. This exhibit was staged in counterpoint to the Great German Art Exhibition in a classic Edward Bernays fashion. A day before the exhibition opened, Hitler delivered a speech declaring a “merciless war” on cultural disintegration. Degenerate art was defined by the Nazi party as any works that “insult German feeling, or destroy or confuse natural form or simply reveal an absence of adequate manual and artistic skill“. Interestingly enough, a U.S. art critic commented “there are probably plenty of people—art lovers—in Boston, who will side with Hitler in this particular purge”. This is where the great divide would begin. To enjoy or side with views of traditionalism would now be viewed as siding with Hitler and The Nazi’s. These feelings and thoughts remain with us till the present date. Hence someone who believes in upholding the traditional rules of grammar is called a “Grammar Nazi” just as someone who believes in the traditional rules of music would be called a “Music Nazi” and so on and so forth. By 1938, just one year after the degenerate art exhibit and five years after the Nazi’s coming to power, an estimated 16,000 works by German and non-German artists had been seized from galleries within the country. They were to be either sold abroad or destroyed.
The CIA & Modern Art
Before, during and after WWII there were huge amounts of information being exchanged between the Nazi Germans and the Americas . The United States took much more than they are willing to admit. The Soviets even kicked themselves later for having not taken enough during the culture looting of Nazi Germany.
One great secret was incorporating “Truppenführung“: The German Art Of War into their own military practices, something which remained classified for nearly 60 years after the end of the war. And of course Operation Paperclip serves as another and the best example of Nazi ideas, politics, policies and people making their way into the heart of America.
An example of this is the new found popularity of the term “politically correct” which has its origins in totalitarian governments. It means in alignment with the states will. As the New York Times once reported on the state of Nazi Germany,
All journalists must have a permit to function and such permits are granted only to pure ‘Aryans’ whose opinions are politically correct.
– Nazi Germany Reporter Policy via New York Times
The Creation of the CIA
The Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) was created on July 26th, 1947 when Harry S. Truman, the 33rd President of the United States signed the National Security Act of 1947. Though the United States already had the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) since 1908, the attacks on Pearl Harbor and the post-war United States government wanted a new organization to coordinate the governmental intelligence efforts. Despite the CIA being a post WWII organization, it was already in the works during WWII. General William “Wild Bill” Donovan, head of the Office of Strategic Services (OSS) wrote President Franklin D. Roosevelt on November 18th, 1944 stating the need for a “Central Intelligence Service”. The organization was to have many roles;
- secure intelligence by overt and covert methods
- connect information collected by all government agencies
- have the authority to conduct “subversive operations abroad”
- but “no police or law enforcement functions, either at home or abroad”
Ironically, it was around this time that the OSS was being called the “American Gestapo” by major U.S. newspapers.
Congress For Cultural Freedom
One of the most important and interesting roles the CIA has performed in the last century regarding the topic of art warfare was their involvement in creating and maintaining of the Congress for Cultural Freedom (CCF). The CCF was an anti-communist advocacy group founded June 26th, 1950 with its headquarters located in Paris, France. At its height the organization held offices in thirty-five countries and published more than two dozen magazines. Some of these magazines include Mundo Nuevo, Encounter, Partisan Review, Paris Review, Kenyon Review, Der Monat “The Month”, The New Leader, Quadrant, Tempo Presente, Forum, Jiyu and more. On the topic of the CCF, Historian Frances Stonor Saunders wrote :
“Whether they liked it or not, whether they knew it or not, there were few writers, poets, artists, historians, scientists, or critics in postwar Europe whose names were not in some way linked to this covert enterprise.”
– Frances Stonor Saunders 1999
Popular topics in these magazines included “the responsibility of the artist as an independent critic of power”, reminders of Hitlers quest for world domination, the question of the Future of Africa, Homosexuality, language gaps between the British classes and of course contributions from major artists and writers such as but not limited too: Pablo Picasso, Robert Lowell, Jack Kerouac, Italo Calvino, Samuel Beckett, T.S. Eliot, Martin Luther King Jr. and George Orwell.
In the early 1960’s the CCF mounted a campaign against the Chilean poet, Pablo Neruda, a passionate communist. At the time Neruda had not yet received his Nobel Prize in Literature and the CCF intensified their efforts against him when he became nominated. After winning the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1971, the Mundo Nuevo would publish several of Neruda’s poems.
How the CCF worked
Donald F.B. “Jamie” Jameson was a branch chief in the Central Intelligence Agency before his death in 2007. He played an active role in the CIA for over 20 years. He was highly regarded for his work handling Russian defectors and other Soviet covert operations. He explains how the CCF managed to work with so many great and famous artists without their knowing;
“Matters of this sort could only have been done at two or three removes, so that there wouldn’t be any question of having to clear Jackson Pollock, for example, or do anything that would involve these people in the organization. And it couldn’t have been any closer, because most of them were people who had very little respect for the government, in particular, and certainly none for the CIA. If you had to use people who considered themselves one way or another to be closer to Moscow than to Washington, well, so much the better perhaps.”
– Donald F.B. “Jamie” Jameson
This is important to note because most of (if not all) these individuals died completely unaware that they were being used and funded by the CIA. Just as many members of our society fail to recognize the governmental support and assistance in their work. George Orwell is now a household name when it comes to his novels 1984 & Animal farm but how many of us are aware that it was the CIA funded who funded the animated version of the Orwell classic: Animal Farm?
PART TWO: Jazz & the CIA
Jazz: The Music of Democracy
Just as traditional art forms became connected with the Nazis, so too did Modern Art forms become connected with ideas of “democracy”, “freedom” and of course “America”.
In those days jazz was America’s secret weapon number one. Every night the Voice of America would beam a two-hour jazz program at the Soviet Union from Tangiers. How many dreamy Russian boys came to puberty to the strains of Ellington’s “Take the A Train” and the dulcet voice of Willis Conover, the VOA’s Mr. Jazz.
– Vasily Aksyonov
In Search of Melancholy Baby
Jazz music experienced great popularity upon its initial arrival in 1920s Germany. But it quickly went from being known as the “essence of the era’s modernism” to mere “negro noise” with the rise of the Nazi’s. Attempts were made to save jazz in the early 1930s by separating it into two distinct groups. “Nigger-Jew Jazz” and the preferred “German Jazz”. But despite these attempts, jazz music was officially banned in 1935 from the country. Even the word jazz was banned due to its strong association with western morals and ideals. Of course not all Germans were for this decision. The young clarinettist Ernst Höllerhagen left Nazi Germany for Switzerland. Hollerhagen would eventually end up playing with the legendary saxophonist, Coleman Hawkins. There was also the growing phenomenon of German jazz fans known as “Swing Kids“. Swing kids were kids who meet in secret in order to listen to American Jazz recorders and Allied Radio Stations. The phenomenon was captured in the 1993 movie “Swing Kids” starring a young Christian Bale.
Both the United States Government and Nazi Germany were extremely successful with their campaigns to connect “Jazz” to “Democracy” and “Democracy” to “Jazz”. They were so successful in this merge that to this day the word “Jazz” and “Democracy” are nearly inseparable.
Jazz is a purely democratic music
– Max Roach
Jazz is something Negroes invented, and it said the most profound things—not only about us and the way we look at things, but about what modern democratic life is really about
– Wynton Marsalis
Jazz at its best is a democracy of creativity
– Jimmy Heath
Like democracy itself, jazz has structure, but within it you can say almost anything
– Susan Rice
Jazz is about Freedom within discipline. Usually a dictatorship like in Russia and Germany will prevent jazz from being played because it just seemed to represent freedom, democracy and the United States
– Dave Brubeck
I think jazz is a spectacular accurate model of democracy and a kind of look into our redemptive future possibilities
– Ken Burns
Jazz is improvisation…within a group context, with true democracy in action
– Greg Thomas
The CIA & Jazz
The Congress for Cultural Freedom (CCP) not only created magazine but also directly funded a wide range of musical genres, including Broadway musicals and jazz concerts. The music of Dizzy Gillespie, Louis Armstrong & Duke Ellington all received assistance from the CCP.
After WWII Louis Armstrong’s reputation began to be universally recognized. On February 21, 1949, he was crowned as “Louis the First” on the Time Magazines cover. Making him the first jazz musician to appear on the cover of Time. In May 1956 Louis Armstrong and his All-Stars returned to America from their successful tour in Western Europe and the British Gold Coast (soon to become the newly independent nation of Ghana). This tour would be considered to be a first unofficial diplomatic trip by some. The New York Times ran a story about the tour and CBS producer, George Avakian used the article title for Armstrong’s next album, Ambassador Satch. Just a year earlier on November 6, 1955, The New York Times announced that “United States Has Secret Sonic Weapon, Jazz”.
In 1956, the same year as the Louis Armstrong tour, fellow trumpeter Dizzy Gillespie went on a World Tour that was entirely state funded and arranged by the CIA’s CCP. This tour came at the request of President Dwight D. Eisenhower, who had sent a letter to the House Committee on Appropriations showing the administration’s belief in the importance of what they called “cultural diplomacy”.
“I consider it essential, that we take immediate and vigorous action to demonstrate the superiority of the products and cultural values of our system of free enterprise.”
– President Dwight D. Eisenhower
Dizzy’s world tour was a complete success. “For these audiences, in Latin America, in Europe, and in the Middle East, Dizzy Gillespie’s world tour left an indelible impression of the vibrancy of American culture, the diversity of American society, and most of all, the power of hope that freedom holds for all people. ” (Jazz, Public Diplomacy)
A Fun Fact: The FBI kept a file on Louis Armstrong for his outspokenness about integration.
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Weaponizing Delinquency Through Art
How can anybody learn anything from an artwork when the piece of art only reflects the vanity of the artist and not reality?
– Lou Reed
I want to us to look at Delinquency and it’s connection to art. Lets start with a broad definition of the term:
1. minor crime, especially that committed by young people.
“social causes of crime and delinquency”
2.neglect of one’s duty.
“he relayed this in such a manner as to imply grave delinquency on the host’s part”
Art can be used as the social cause of crime and delinquency and it allows artists, groups of people, governments to weaponize delinquency as if it were an airborne bacteria. This knowledge has been known for centuries and one of the only guards against this bacteria is virtue. These facts have been known for centuries and used by churches, governments all around the world for both good and evil. Even the church used the great paintings and sculptures of Michelangelo, Da Vinci and Goya to inspire religious faith while at the same time monarchies used the very same technique to inspire loyalty and admiration from the masses. In a very similar matter this is how the U.S. government uses Hollywood as a weapon against other nations. As Homer Simpson says to the Aliens in the the Simpson’s Treehouse of Horror episode, how can you destroy earth when all your favorite celebrities live here? Replace Earth with America and you get the picture. This fact was especially known to Adolf Hitler which is why the Nazi’s were against art that was not from their own people and culture. This went hand in hand with their war on degeneration, almost like a culture germ phobia but in the art community. Remember “there are probably plenty of people—art lovers—in Boston, who will side with Hitler in this particular purge”.
Part 3: The Beatles & The Death of Jazz
Back In the U.S.S.R.
Art is the messenger of ideas and emotions and for this reason it can be viewed as a danger to the fabric of a society. Hitler is not alone in this thinking. The Soviet Union feared and banned the music of the Beatles for the very same reason Nazi Germany banned jazz music. Just like the Swing Kids of Nazi Germany, the Soviet Union had Beatles Clubs. A book and movie were created on this very subject, “How the Beatles Rocked the Kremlin: The Untold Story of a Noisy Revolution“.
“Beatlemania washed away the foundations of Soviet society”
– Mikhail Safonov
The Institute of Russian History
World Chess champion Mikhail Safonov, among others have made the argument that the British rock band, The Beatles did more than any Russian figure to break up of totalitarianism in the USSR. The Beatles obviously felt their influence when they penned the tune “Back In the USSR” as a response to Brian Wilson’s “California Girls” which was quickly becoming its own surfer anthem. In a 1984 interview with Playboy magazine, Paul McCartney said:
I wrote that as a kind of Beach Boys parody. And “Back in the USA” was a Chuck Berry song, so it kinda took off from there. I just liked the idea of Georgia girls and talking about places like the Ukraine as if they were California, you know? It was also hands across the water, which I’m still conscious of. ‘Cause they like us out there, even though the bosses in the Kremlin may not. The kids from there do. And that to me is very important for the future of the race.
– Paul McCartney
As you can see even the flower smelling, peace loving Beatles were proactive in using their music to achieve specific political and spiritual aims involving the “future of the race”. Not far off from the claims made by Charles Manson that the Beatles were trying to trigger a race war. (Ironically Manson was nearly signed by the Beach Boys around the same time!)
Depending on your goals, your motives, your views on people, the society you are trying to create and just about everything else, the way you use art as a political tool will change. But some facts are facts and formless art has always inspired and brought about delinquency, drug use and crime. We can see this across the board and I have witness it in my own life time and time again. I watched as my friends became involved in the formless art craze, increase their drug use, sexual confusion and ended up in psychiatric hospitals or back in their parents basements only to waste their 20s gluing egg shells to cardboard. I don’t care how great the music of Jimi Hendrix was and still is (and don’t me wrong I love Hendrix and his music), Hendrix inspired millions of people to take LSD and the causality list was high. The further coincidence is that at the time LSD was being created and distrusted by the CIA through author Ken Kesey & Hharvard psychologist Timothy Leary! One of the 1960’s greatest guitarists, Peter Green, the founding member behind Fleetwood Mac was peer pressured into taking LSD by his manager, who used Hendrix as the example. The result was a disaster which cost Green nearly everything. The same happened to Syd Barrett, founding member of Pink Floyd, Roky Erickson of the 13 Floor Elevators and countless others. The fact is that the idea of a formless art can trigger mass degeneration and this can be weaponized against a people, just as it has been used by the United States Government and as well as against them.
If you remember my mentioning of Project Paperclip earlier, this gives us some insight into the death of jazz. Why would the Nazi’s not look to destroy jazz as it was used as one of the main symbols of their victors? Its no different than banning the Swastika even though its origins are outside of the Nazi party. If you were a Nazi in America of course you would work towards seeing the death of jazz, which they were successful in. From 30% of all album sales in America to less than 1%, jazz music is dead in American and holds the title of the least popular form of music in America 71 years later. The only way this could be achieved was by turning Jazz into something it was not, a formless art. Jazz as an art-form is of the highest level. A great Jazz musician is the perfect alchemist. They have achieved a balance of the soul and the mind while disciplined the body. The Nazi’s could not have been more wrong in their assessment of jazz music but they certainly helped to turn it into what they believed it to be.
Ornette Coleman destroyed Jazz as a viable art form almost overnight in the United States. The music that had carried a nation successfully through two world wars and a great depression was about to be put to an end. It is here we get a great glimpse at the two headed eagle that is the United States government. While using the greatest performers in jazz to promote America overseas, the CIA actively attempted to destroy jazz within its own communities. They achieved this mainly by dumping Heroin onto the scene. (Please do your own research into the CIA involvement in bringing Heroin into Black Communities, there is a lot of information on this topic!) For those of you who are unfamiliar with Coleman, he is considered the major figure in pioneering “Free Jazz”. A new type of jazz music that aimed to completely remove chord structures, scales, tempos and basically turn jazz into a formless music based on pure expression. Despite the likely pure intentions of Coleman, the end result created a schism in the jazz community, from which it has never recovered. Most of us probably grew up with an idea of jazz that was created by Coleman. Of course, ironically, we find the work of Jackson Pollock on the album artwork of the first “Free Jazz” album. I was hoping that by Free Jazz they meant you didn’t have to pay for it! And of course the double irony is that Pollock hated the music of Coleman. Pollock did in fact love jazz music and thought it was the only exciting thing happening in America but he preferred the early jazz of Louis Armstrong, Billie Holiday and disliked the new jazz of Charlie Parker, Dizzy Gillespie and above all Ornette Coleman. With only one album, the fall of jazz had begun.
Vomit as Art
“I am just a dumb American who pays taxes for this kind of trash.”
– a U.S. Congressman
On the 1947 state funded International tour called “Advancing American Art”
Art (or better yet America) as a whole has continued to regress since the birth of Modern Art. People use to joke that Jackson Pollock just threw paint at a canvas and next people would be vomited on paper and selling it as “art”. Their joke first turned prediction, second turned prophecy, third turned reality. Formless art has lead us right to where many feared.
Meet Millie Brown, consider by many to be a “cutting edge artist”. Brown is famous for her vomit art. Millie has become such a popular “artist” that she was recently featured in a video with Lady Gaga and her pieces continue to sell. That is more than enough about her.
“Creativity is more than just being different. Anybody can play weird – that’s easy. What’s hard is to be as simple as Bach. Making the simple complicated is commonplace – making the complicated simple, awesomely simple – that’s creativity.”
– Charles Mingus
This is where this style of thinking leads us as a society. I think at this point the “liberal” image of America is in full backfire. The very formless nature of modern art that once enraged Hitler, shook the Soviet Union is now causing America to rot from the inside out, as many feared and warned it would. Remember “there are probably plenty of people—art lovers—in Boston, who will side with Hitler in this particular purge”. Let’s also not forget it was Nelson Rockefeller who co-founded and funded the great MoMa, aka Modern Art Museum located in New York City and helped to push this movement to greater and greater heights.
“Violence is not necessary to destroy a civilization. Each civilization dies from indifference toward the unique values which created it.”
– Nicolas Gomez Davila
The point of this article is not to sway your opinion about what is good or bad art. I personally think art is like a child in the middle of their parents divorce. It carries no direct agenda of its own. Once art carries an agenda it ceases to be art. It becomes something different and new all together: Propaganda, or an Advertisement. I’m not trying to suggest that because the CIA used Jackson Pollock’s art or George Orwell’s work we should no longer view these people as icons. After all the CIA’s magazine the New Leader Magazine was the first to publish Martin Luther King, Jr.’s Letter from a Birmingham Jail! The point of this article or art tickle was to make you think about why they are icons and who made them icons and why them. The point of this article is to make you think about how art is being used in the political arena and that is always been used there and likely always will be. Maybe your government is the one actually buying these artists terrible recorders and supporting them. That maybe, perhaps somewhere in the United States, like the ending scene of Indian Jones, there is Warehouse full of state bought copies of Elvis Presely vinyls used to inflate his album sales. Is it really that far out considering he was an FBI agent? What about how the FBI was almost the ones to release of “Once Upon a Time in Shaolin“ by The Wu Tang Clan? And what about Memes? O God the memes!!! Are they not the newest form of art and expression? Who’s to say that governments all over the world are not behind the creation of varies memes with varies agenda’s? They cost next to nothing, they can spread to millions of people in just hours, you would be stupid not to be using them as government! Governments fear memes so we know they are creating them. Lets look at how Spain is attempting to ban the spreading of memes. Russia has already banned memes of Putin and Indonesia wants to ban memes and make the spreading of them a crime! Trump is tweeting memes as are the corporations.
And this my friends is the Occult War of Art. Watch out!
Still Life with Golden Bream – Francisco Goya (1808-1812)